ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Local startup Go-Station Inc. broke ground this month on its first electric vehicle charging station in Albuquerque.
The pilot project, which will open late this month on the south side of Winrock Town Center, marks the start of a broad plan to install a network of sites throughout New Mexico and the Southwest. The company expects to build up to 10 stations this year, said Go-Station founder and Chairman Stuart Rose.
“We’re starting in New Mexico and spreading outward from here,” Rose said. “Next year, we expect to build another 30 stations.”
Rose, a serial entrepreneur who founded the Bioscience Center in Uptown Albuquerque and the FatPipe ABQ co-working space Downtown, launched Go-Station about two years ago. The company generally operated in stealth mode while it built new software to help maximize charging speeds with state-of-the-art DC technology for electric cars and plug-in hybrids at Go-Station sites.
Go-Station built the software in partnership with two other Albuquerque companies, electromechanical engineering firm Sierra Peaks and software developer Tracque Inc.
“The hardware isn’t unique, but we combined it with specially-designed software to develop a new approach for faster charging,” Rose said. “We wanted something that offers customers an experience similar to gas stations.”
Go-Station also built an online system for customers to sign up as members with a credit card and then charge up at company sites with automatic billing, said Chief Marketing Officer Ray Addison II. The app lets customers rapidly locate charging stations, and also earn “loyalty program” points whenever they charge up for use at participating retail outlets.
“We want to offer an experience that fits seamlessly into customers’ lives,” Addison said.
The long-term goal is to build a vast network of Go-Station in the Southwest and middle America, since competing companies are concentrated on the coasts. That’s critical to grow industry, said Go-Station President and CEO Andrew Hisey.
“Our mission at Go-Station is to support the transition to sustainable energy by providing fast, conveniently and universal charging solutions,” Hisey said in a prepared statement. ”
Electric vehicles still constitute only a fraction of the auto market, but it’s growing fast, with about 200,000 electric vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2017. That accounted for 1.15 percent of all car sales that year, but it represented a 26 percent increase from 2016, according to the online publication CityLab. And Sales grew another 81 percent last year.
Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are growing by about 500 per year in New Mexico, with about 1,700 in use today, according to a fiscal impact report for House Bill 185, introduced this year to create a state tax break for electric car purchases.
Go-Station believes sales will increase exponentially over the next decade as more cars are built and prices drop, Rose said.
“A lot will depend on charging infrastructure being in place,” Rose said. “That’s what we’re working on.”